The Five Absolute Best SEO Techniques for Small Business ... and Two You Should Avoid Like the Bubonic Plague!
Still struggling to get attention for your business?
Having trouble separating real SEO techniques from all the chatter you see online?
Would you like to understand once and for all the best SEO techniques to promote YOUR business website?
We understand your frustration! There is so much information out there – and the world of SEO changes so fast – that it can be very difficult to figure out what works, not to mention exactly how to execute on it.
The truth is, SEO is a lot of work these days.
With all the competition online, it will only get more challenging.
BUT the key concepts are simple and timeless, and if you keep them in mind when you build your strategy, the best SEO techniques will make more sense, give you better results, and give you a shot at making a difference that matters.
The people who succeed – those who find the best SEO techniques and consistently apply them – have a huge advantage marketing their businesses. Page One territory on the search engines is extremely valuable. If you can get your website to show up there and offer a simple, authentic customer experience for visitors, you’ll rarely lack for new leads. When we work with clients who are committed to the process, who give it the attention and time it deserves, and who are willing to pay attention to the marketing data we provide, we’ve never seen it fail!
If you try it yourself and get bogged down, drop us an email ... we’re happy to consider your questions!
Why the Best SEO Techniques Aren’t "Tricks" but are Actually Timeless, Consistent and Authentic
One of the problems people face is that there are so many so-called SEO “experts” who actually provide inaccurate or inflated information. They are often people who claim to have unlocked the secrets to the latest Google algorithm or to Facebook’s newest gimmick. These charlatans specialize in promising quick results. If they actually do help you – which is doubtful – the results are likely to last only until the next algorithm change or until you’ve paid their bill. Then ... there goes your hard-earned time and money!
When your website suddenly disappears from the search engine results pages and your incoming calls fall by 50-75%, you’ll understand quickly and with stomach-churning impact why it’s critical to focus on the basics, to do them well, do them consistently, and never, ever, ever give up.
Let’s Be Clear About a Few Key Words
To truly understand the value of what we’re giving you, you may need to take a moment to understand a few “need to know” words. You’ll get the full benefit from the SEO techniques we’re about to discuss if you know what these terms mean:
the complex analysis Google and the other search engines apply to figure out if your website really delivers what your potential customers are searching for.
the actual text on your website pages. This is the stuff that tells the search engines and your website visitors what you’re all about. Google can’t tell what your photos are about without some clues, so content is the best place to promote keywords and explanations about what you do or what you offer.
in your content, this is the bold text at the start of a block of text that summarizes what’s in that block of text. It can be identified in the html code of your site with tags like <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc.
a page somewhere in your website structure designed to focus on a specific keyword.
the title of a page that usually appears in the top of your browser window, just below the URL. Should tell the search engines and your web visitors what the page is about.
SEO (search engine optimization)
the process of “tuning” the structure and content of a website to ensure that the search engines know you’re delivering what potential customers want.
SERPs (search engine results pages)
like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Getting listed higher is better ... the closer you can be to the top of page one, the more traffic your website is likely to get.
URL (uniform resource locator)
the thing that starts with “http:” and usually has a few slashes in it. Example: http://michiganseogroup.com/searchengine/optimization
Now that You Know the Words, it’s Time to Think Deeply
Successful businesses have found SEO experts who worry less about algorithm changes and more about getting the right content in the right places to serve visitors. They also make sure it’s structured to provide the search engine robots with appropriate guidance. But there’s a deeper understanding that you should have even before you start building a strategy or try to implement the best SEO techniques you can find ...
Here it is: we’ve found time and again that there’s a high correlation between clients who have a clear understanding of WHY they serve and those who succeed wildly in their online marketing. In other words, their work is driven by deep purpose, and that purpose guides their decisions about what they post on their websites, blogs, social media, press releases, and other online platforms.
And when we talk about purpose, we mean both the WHY? in the greater sense (do they just want to make money or is there a public service or mission component to what they do?) and in the tactical sense (is their purpose to sell at the lowest price, to offer the best customer service, or to help humanity in some way?).
Take as much time as you need – even before you call your internet marketing expert – and figure out why you do what you do. If you know that, it will help keep you centered, minimize distractions, and help you clearly define everything you do online.
Lessons in Living – Mean People Don’t Prevail in the Long Run
One of our longstanding clients provides products and services to homeowners. When they came to us, there was very little competition in their field, but there was one rival in town who was getting into SEO at about the same time. Let’s call him “Mister X.” For the first few months, our client’s website and Mister X’s site would vie for top position on Google. They’d ask us, “how can he do so well when he treats customers so badly?”
It was an important lesson in long-term vs. short term SEO. In the short term, Mister X could pay an SEO firm to tweak his content, work on his site, and fight for SERP space for his target keywords. And it was a big concern for everybody on our team as we fought to get the Google turf we felt our client rightfully deserved.
But we worked tirelessly with lots of support from our client to make sure the information on their website was truly helpful to interested customers – that it was empathetic, clearly written, and provided useful solutions. It was also totally “SEO-ed up”! Over time, our client began to win for more and more search terms.
As the competition heated up, more and more businesses got into the game and hired other SEO firms to manage their online presence. Our client’s site continued to show up very, very well, while Mister X’s site gradually faded. It will never disappear as long as he spends money on SEO but, over time, his business will accrue more and more negative reviews, the engagement will diminish, the comments on his blog posts will become more negative, and even a very robust online presence will only help to showcase the negative customer experience at Mister X’s company!
[By the way, we know some of this because Mister X called us for help with SEO! We declined ... we don’t like to do marketing work for mean people!]
We absolutely love working with people and businesses who have a distinct mission – whose purpose serves humankind in some way. Not just because they do better in the long run, but also because it’s more intrinsically rewarding to work with them. Building a great online presence is a long term commitment. It can sometimes take 18-24 months to get a large campaign fully up to speed, so we interact with our clients a LOT. If they’re hard working and positive, that makes our days better, and we try very hard to be hard working and positive, too!
First Absolute Best SEO Technique – Keyword Research
Before you do anything else, research what people are actually searching for when they look for products or services like yours. You can’t properly optimize your site unless you know what your target audience is searching for!
And, no offence intended, but you might think you know, but our research shows that you probably don’t. While most business owners have some idea, or even a pretty good idea, most of their lists aren’t complete and are very rarely prioritized to focus them on getting to the most valuable prospects first.
So, how do you know what people are searching for? Ask them!
- Ask your customers! Call or email a few of them right now. You might be surprised at what they say. What’s that? You don’t want to contact your customers? DO IT ANYWAY! You’d be surprised at what can happen. Often when you reach out to your existing customers, they may actually say “Oh yeah, by the way, I could use help with…” and you end up making a sale;
- Ask your employees;
- Brainstorm your own list;
- Ask your friends and family; and
- Now that you know what everyone else thinks, go and ask Google.
Seriously, if nothing else, go to Google right now and use their Adwords tool to find out what people are actually searching for when they’re looking for your kind of product or service.
It’s free, it’s easy, and it will tell you without a doubt what people are actually searching for. Everything else you do depends on knowing this, so this really is the very first thing you need to do. Google will probably give you a list of hundreds of keyword phrases people are searching for. You’ll need to narrow it down. Some terms may not apply to you, and you can probably skip most of the ones that are near duplicates.
But the keys to the kingdom lie in the actual search volume. That’s right – you can sort Google’s keyword list by number of times that search has been performed. Since most of our clients are dealing with clients or customers from the U.S., we sort by “Local Monthly Searches.” Then, go right to the top of the list and identify the most popular terms that most closely relate to your products and services. While you’re doing this, think about your target audience. If your product or service fulfills a particular niche, then focus on keywords describing that niche. “Niches equals riches!”
Ask your customers, ask your employees, ask yourself, but most importantly, ask Google and develop a complete and accurate list of the keyword phrases you’re going to focus on. No, you can’t “focus” on 200 keywords! Focus means saying “no.” To get things started, pick no more than a dozen keywords. Half a dozen would be better. Once you knock those out of the park, you can go back and work on more.
We’ve run out of room on this page, so CLICK HERE to get right to our Second Absolute Best SEO Technique!